THIS BLOG is about writing, Kindling and how I almost lost my mind on the Internet. It is also a place where I will try to answer questions about my stories and the characters and post reader comments.

The first novel I put up was PAPER CUTS. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into readying it to publish, but was lucky to come upon CJs Easy As Pie Kindle Tutorials (see comments below). You can view Aaron’s page here:

An Aaron Hanover Mystery

My first mistake was listening to Belle Waterson’s siren song, but there she was looking gorgeous and offering me a job working on a hush-hush investigation. I should have listened instead to that small inner voice that asked why she would want me to investigate a society blackmail case when she had a stable of gumshoes with expensive haircuts and blue blazers at her beck and call.

My second mistake was continuing on the case when the bodies started dropping around me. The first clue that something was really wrong should have been the dead attorney. The next was the billionaire exec who expired of an unnamed illness. The third was the mob connected millionaire running for state senator blown to kingdom come.

Making matters worse for me was my overbearing daughter, her housekeeper, my landlady and my creditors.

When my best lead was an expensive sheet of writing paper it might have been time to call it a day. But no! Middle-aged men of my generation have this thing called The Code of Honor, but practiced without good sense, and it almost sent me to the undertaker.

CJs Easy As Pie Kindle Tutorials (Five Stars)

I had sent a query letter to an agent who quickly asked for chapters of my manuscript Paper Cuts. In two or three days a message came back with compliments about the “voice” and plot and character. Then the splash of cold water; the gist of which was that in this shrinking market it would be hard to place this mystery.

In my town bookstores are closing. My friends who are writers have become increasingly pessimistic. Then that comment from an agent triggered the light bulb that flashed in my mind: embrace the future. Try e-books! It all made sense.

I clicked my heels and headed for my computer with my finger poised to push the send button. After all, doesn’t one simply upload the manuscript and sit back?

Not quite.

I read a lot of material on the Internet, much of which was not only confusing, it might be contradicted by the next blogger or specialist. Lots of talk about learning HTML and converting from this to that. Frustrated and confused I shoved everything aside for a few days, and smoldered.

When I finally went back for another look I discovered CJs Easy As Pie Kindle Tutorials and her two birds on a tightrope. CJ writes that one bird is telling the other “Don’t look down!” You have no idea, reader, how many times I told myself that over the next week! But I did learn how to do a Kindle book. I read all of the material on CJ’s blog, then read it again, then organized a step by step approach for myself.

The hardest part was cleaning up the manuscript—and I now know why a computer is not a typewriter. From now on I will save a lot of time by using Word the way CJ writes it was meant to be used.

CJ was always generous, answering questions patiently in spite of me being an obvious dunce. The questions and answers on her blog were a great help as well. As CJ writes “Just Take One Step at a Time.”

I studied her tutorial, took her advice and I now have five books up—and they look pretty darn nice. I have CJ’s site bookmarked and use it frequently.

Thanks again, CJ!

You can see her blog here:

Copyright 2011 by Spencer Schankel
All Rights Reserved


About spencer911c

I live on an island in Washington State, not far from the Canadian Border. While the setting must have influenced the first Timothy Holbrook book, our town is not fading like Faith Hollow, nor do we have any known zombies or wizards. I spent many years in the theater and many years writing, and now write fulltime. The theater years are still a great help with pacing, scene construction and plotlines. In the back of my mind when I’m writing and I hear the audience start coughing and shifting in their seats a red light flares and I know it’s time to go back and work harder. On the drawing board is the second Aaron Hanover mystery and the next Timothy Holbrook adventure: “Timothy Holbrook and the Druid’s Circle.” One reader has suggested a sequel to “Tomorrow Will Take Care of Itself” with Mr. Max as the main character. Anything is possible. I love reading comments and questions and do my best to answer all of the ones that aren’t X rated.
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